Virginia Ray

‘For a long time, I found it very hard to get in the right headspace. When I did find myself back in the studio, I found myself returning to the places that gave me a strong sense of self – and which brought  calm and contemplation. I had to dig deep into my memory and use old photographs and sketches. The place I sought out  was the banks of the River Nidd in North Yorkshire….the river of my youth’.

Born and raised in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Virginia’s work is an expression of the place she knows so well – the marks and colours of this landscape as well as its history. Virginia’s process begins with observation and research developed with imagination and personal memories. Referencing family photographs and incorporating materials gathered from the land. She creates an interwoven layering of local history, personal identity, experience and memory. Her work relates to the use of the land, and vanished communities such as the monks of Fountains Abbey who remain so much a part the area’s history. Her creative process is one of building layers, scratching, erasing and then rebuilding, with multi layered surfaces of paint and mixed media. She often incorporates soil, minerals and vegetation into her work. Her lyrical works with their subtle palette are an expression of mood and emotion rooted in the landscape. Virginia has a BA Hons in History, a PGCE and a MA in Fine Art from UCA Farnham. Her work has been exhibited in Surrey, Norfolk, London, Yorkshire and Ibiza. Virginia also works as a freelance artist with the Watts Gallery in Compton, Guildford as part of their outreach programme.
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